Gardening in January

Jan. 15th

Gardening in January doesn’t seem natural, but there’s much to be done during this cold, dreary month if you want a productive garden this summer. Now that the Holiday season is over, it’s time to start getting ready for the gardening season with these tips for January gardening.


Browse through the seeds catalogs and do some plant research online so you can select the right flower and vegetable plants to grow in your garden. Check hardiness zones for each plant, plus their sun, water and food needs. This information will enable you to have healthier, more productive garden. Selecting the right plants and grouping them according to their needs makes gardening easier for you and produces happier plants.

Seed Starting

Start garden seeds indoors in January so plants will be ready to go outdoors in the spring. Check the predicted last frost date in your region and start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before that predicted date.


If the ground is not frozen, January is the ideal time to plant trees, shrubs, and spring flowering bulbs. This will give the trees, shrubs and bulbs time to develop a healthy root system before it’s time for the top growth to begin. January is a wet month in some growing regions, so wait until the soil dries before planting.

Prepare Soil

Remove all debris from the garden beds and prepare soil (if the ground is not frozen) for the upcoming growing season. Turn under cover crops and work in a few inches of compost or manure so the soil will be fertile enough to feed garden plants. As soon as ground thaws, add a fresh layer of organic mulch around perennial plants, trees, and shrubs.

Pest Control

Fruit trees, rose bushes, and evergreens often have over-wintering pests that are just waiting for warm weather to become active again. Stop them before they can begin feasting on your plants by applying a dormant oil (horticulture oil) to smoother them. Wait until temperatures are above freezing for at least 24 hours before using dormant oil.


January pruning promotes spring growth. Trees and shrubs are dormant this month, making it the ideal time to prune away all dead, diseased or unwanted limbs. Save pruned fruit tree limbs (unless diseased) to use in the smoker or grill to enhance food flavor.



Image by: Olexandr Bychykhin

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